World History Timeline: 12,000 to 4001 BCE

12,000 BCE  The epoch described by geologists as the Pleistocene has ended. The Holocene epoch begins – to today. With the exception crossing a body of water to get to New Guinea and Australia, they have arrived in places by walking.

11,000 BCE  Stone spearheads and human DNA found in Oregon caves will indicate "that at least two cultures with distinct technologies ... shared the continent more than 13,000 years ago." (New York Times, July 12, 2012.)

10,900 BCE  Comet debris smash into North America. According to theory, it reversed the ice age thaw, and the recooling killed mammals such as the saber-toothed tiger, dire wolf, and the wooly mammoth.

10,000 BCE  Homo sapiens are the sole surviving creatures of the Homo genus – a species with a superior ability to plan and communicate. These humans have spread into most of the earth's habitable places. Sparse populations allow for hunting game, gathering food that grows wild and drifting from campsite to campsite. Storytelling and myth are a major pastime.

10,000 BCE  In Eurasia and North America, the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) has become extinct.

10,000 BCE  People in the Middle East have domesticated goats and dogs. And people are starting to grow their own food.

9,500 BCE  Throughout the world, climates become warmer, wetter and more stable. There are perhaps five million people in the world, most of them hunter-gatherers.

9,000 BCE  21st century academics mark this as around the time that the shift from hunter-gathering societies to settled farming begins. In the Jordan Valley, figs are cultivated, while wild barley, oats and acorns are being gathered. (See BBC News, June 2, 2006, "Ancient fig clue to first farming.)

8000 BCE  Hunter-gatherers in Southeast Asia begin growing crops to supplement their food supply. In the Jordan Valley in Southwest Asia, a walled settlement exists at Jericho. Mesopotamians are using clay tokens to represent agricultural and hand manufactured goods.

8000 BCE  Tropical monsoons are making the Sahara green.

7600 BCE  Hunter-gatherers are living along the Seine River in what is today the city of Paris.

7300 BCE  Tribal people in what is today Britain have domesticated dogs.

7200 BCE  In what is today Greece, people have domesticated sheep.

7000 BCE  In the Fertile Crescent, people are farming and raising animals. Their farms anchor them to one place. Gods are seen as settled into a temple and place.

6700 BCE  A man dies in the vicinity of what is now known as the Columbia River. In 1996 CE his bones will be found almost entirely intact and he will be called Kennewick Man. A projectile point will be found embedded in his pelvis, but his bone grows around it, indicating that he survived the wound.

6500 BCE  In what today is northwest Turkey agriculture appears, and cow herders are producing what will be tentatively considered the world's first dairy.

6000 BCE  Farmers from the Near East arrive in Europe and transform the genetic landscape of Europe (See BBC News, Science and the Environment, 5 Nov 2014). Growing crops and domesticating animals have begun in southern and eastern Europe, including Greece.

6000 BCE  Agriculture is developing among hunter-gatherers in what today is southern Mexico. Along the upper Nile, people are growing sorghum, millet and wheat.

5800 BCE  Agriculture appears in what today is France.

5600 BCE  Sea levels have been rising, and – according to the disputed "Black Sea Deluge Theory" – sea water suddenly begins pouring into the Black Sea basin, flooding vast amounts of inhabited land and sending people on new migrations with stories about a great flood.

5500 BCE  People in China are planting seeds.

5400-4900 BCE  The first true farming communities appear in central Europe (German archaeologist F. Klopfleisch). DNA conclude that a closely related group of early farmers move into Europe from the Near East. They are distinct from indigenous hunter-gatherers they encountered as they spread around the continent

5000 BCE  The first metal tools are produced. Near what today is the village of Herxheim, in southwest Germany, as many as 500 men, women and infants are butchered and cannibalized – perhaps during one of the periodic famines that occurred in agricultural societies.

4500 BCE  Farming reappears in Africa south of the Sahara in the Niger Basin in the West. The Sahara at this time is grass and woodland with an abundance of rainfall, rivers, lakes, fish and aquatic life. People there are growing crops and raising sheep, goats and cattle.

4200 BCE  Egyptians are mining and smelting copper.

4200 BCE  Around now the Sahara is beginning to become desert again.

4100 BCE  Y-DNA Haplogroup E1b suggest migrations have ocurred or will occur from North Africa to Sicily, to the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, from Sicily to the Italian Peninsula and the Balkans. By the 21st century from 5 to 10 percent of Germans will share this DNA from North Africa. (

before 12,000 BCE | timeline 4000 to 2001 BCE

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